What Should Your Brand Launch Strategy Be During a Pandemic?
Although some states are opening up, here in New York we’re nearly two months into the shutdown due to the coronavirus. As a result the whole country has seen a lot of downturn in the retail industry. But in the midst of it all, some brands have decided to move forward and launched during the Covid-19 pandemic. Find out what each of their brand launch strategy was! These five Boss Babes embody the true spirit of the Fearless Fashionpreneur and the determination to thrive.
The Caldwell Collection
Lauren and Lisa are a mother-daughter duo, and client of ours, whose brand launched during the pandemic on April 15th. Both are collegiate cheerleading alum of the University of North Carolina and married former UNC football players as well. Inspired by the love for their team as well as stylish clothing, they are turning game day on its head by creating luxury clothing for the big day. They have conceived an utterly unique idea by developing a monochromatic line celebrating their team spirit. The duo has often sought styles that they wished came in team colors, ranging from a leather jacket, to the perfect cigarette pant, until they eventually decided to design and launch their own line. While they currently only sell North Carolina Sky Blue, they will launch other team colors very soon.
I asked them why they decided to launch their brand during the pandemic, and they shared their game plan and brand launch strategy.
The Caldwell Collection brand credits three key innovative strategies:
1) A season-less line of women’s clothing in hard to find team colors. Season-less items eliminate the complexity of having the right inventory at the right time. And making items in hard to find colors fills a niche.
2) A strictly online platform which eliminates the issue of social distancing and closures. It also allows us to charge an honest price since we are direct to consumers.
3) Leading our launch with a pre-sale. The pre-sale allows us to get a great idea of what pieces to manufacture in what styles and sizes. It also gives us some time for the manufacturing facilities to open back up in NY.
All three of these strategies have allowed us to keep to our operating plan and have provided us comfort even in a pandemic. We are able to bring a spirit of hope for women sports fans who are anxiously awaiting the opportunity to support their favorite team this fall. Blue Skies Ahead!”
Emily Jancic is a mom of two from Williamsburg, Brooklyn. She created a line of booties for children that features the comfort of a sock with the durability of a shoe. She is also a good friend from church and while not technically a client, I was able to help her with her vision. But the decision to launch her brand during the pandemic was her own. I had a chat with her about the process, keep reading to hear her story from beginning to end.
FAW: Tell us why you decided to create these booties.
HB: When I had my son, I was frustrated that all of the baby socks fell off, and shoes seemed too rigid for his little feet. I wanted something that had the look of a shoe but soft enough for babies and toddlers. And so I created a soft, washable shoe.
FAW: Had you ever designed anything before? Did you have help?
HB: I have never designed anything! I don’t come from a fashion background, I was in advertising. I worked at L’Oréal for seven years before this. The designing was a lot of trial and error. I just knew what I wanted to buy and couldn’t find. I worked with illustrators to get my idea into a digital form. And a few ideas were scrapped along the way. With this project, you couldn’t tell what would stay on and go through the wash until you had a prototype. It took a lot of back and forth. And much longer than I expected.
FAW: On your website you mention all sorts of closures, snaps, leather and other vegan materials you tried. What did you end up going with and how did you decide?
HB: Well I found that magnets were too heavy and not as strong or washable as snaps. I tried a lot of materials. I found that the technology of fly knit (like Rothy’s Adidas, Nike shoes) lets you make any design as soft as you want, and as elastic as you want. No seams at all. Totally smooth, breathable, lightweight and comfortable. I also love that it’s 100% recycled material.
The thing was no one uses knit for baby shoes. The reason is that knit shoes always have a rigid, heavy sole to keep the shoe upright. HARTS have a flexible rubber sole. It’s perfect for baby feet. We constructed it so it would still be able to stand up and be a proper “shoe.” We are patent pending at the moment.
FAW: How long did the entire process take you from initial concept to product/website launch?
HB: I would say 2-3 years, I launched a landing page just to collect emails and keep people posted on the bootees. Then, I thought the idea over a lot and tried at home to make a prototype myself before I got a manufacturer and started to seriously move forward.
FAW: Did you know anything about manufacturing prior to this or did you have help?
HB: Oh, nothing. It was lots of trial and error. Having someone like Fashion Angel Warrior will be a big help for people to avoid the pitfalls I went through. I started with a manufacturer that Christine also works with, but ultimately went with Alibaba. I have had a wonderful experience with them.
FAW: You launched on March 30th. What made you decide to launch your brand during the Covid-19 pandemic and not push your launch back?
HB: So my shipment was delayed two months because of international coronavirus closings. So when it finally arrived, I was ready to roll! I just figured, I don’t know if this is the worst time or the best time to launch, but I am going for it!
FAW: The price is $30 a pair, unbelievable, especially for vegan materials. How are you able to keep these so affordable?
HB: Thank you! The price point was important to me from the beginning. So when manufacturers came up with other ideas that were going to cost more and be less effective, I moved on. I kind of worked back from that number, knowing what I needed to make.
We sell our shoes in a sweet white giftable box with a little shoe bag. It’s the right price point for a meaningful, functional, modern baby shower or first birthday gift.
FAW: What kind of marketing are you doing and how is it going thus far?
HB: It’s been mostly word of mouth. And since the mama crowd is on Instagram, I connected with a lot of influencers. I have found them so friendly and helpful. And it has massively expanded our reach. In our first three weeks, we shipped all over the world – Sweden, Norway, Australia, UK, plus 32 states! For me, the timing of the launch was a huge gift. I have been able to focus on shipping systems that will allow us to grow and communicate with new customers. It’s really been amazing.
Grab a pair for the moms you know, just in time for Mothers Day! And just for our Fashion Angel Warrior readers, use code FAW for 10% off until May 15. You can find Harts Booties on Instagram, Facebook, and on their website.
The De La Cruz Collection
Rosalina De La Cruz’s brand launched on March 10th, just days before the shutdown. Her line consists of men’s jeans, denim shirts, and unisex T-Shirts at extremely reasonable prices. Her brand launch strategy was that she pivoted to masks in the midst of the pandemic and makes them in fun patterns for adults and children. Plus, she donates a mask for every mask sold, which is her way of giving back. She’s now considering hiring a seamstress who can help her manufacture a few pieces of her own and is at work on a marketing plan.
It all started when she purchased wholesale on her LA trip and is now selling tees with her brand on them. She is making the best of it and will continue to pursue her goal of having her own line manufactured in the US. She is truly showing her fearless fashionpreneur side in being one of the brands launched during the pandemic. We have faith in you Rosalina! You can find the products on her website.
Jenna Bricher Swimwear
Jenna Bricher is breaking the mold with her debut swimwear line made specifically for girls who are curvier on top than on the bottom. Her tops feature sizes DD to I with bottoms ranging 2 through 8. She’s also selling gift cards on her site, which we think is a smart move. Her brand launched on March 19th, right at the start of the pandemic, and while it was definitely not planned, she has stuck with it. We wish her the best! Be sure to checkout her website, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter!
How about you? Have you or know someone whose brands launched during the pandemic? What is your brand launch strategy? Let us know, we love hearing from you! As always, don’t forget to join our Fearless Fashionpreneur Facebook Group and subscribe below. Stay safe and healthy!
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